Randy A Brown

Web Design Trends for 2017 – Improved Popup Options

April 6, 2017
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Popups were once a very popular method for displaying ads. They became so annoying that users started using popup blockers (or throwing their monitors out the window in frustration… not that I ever did, but I was tempted a few times. Even the programmer who developed the code to use ads within popups apologized for creating the code). The popups then became pop-under’s until they started getting blocked too. Even today’s web browsers still have popup blockers built in and turned on by default. There are still a few out there but popup ads are no where near as bad as they used to be.

Image source: https://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/science/Pop-UpAdsWiki-Post.jpg

The Move From Ads to Newsletters

What’s popular today is the use of popups for newsletter subscription notices. In my opinion these are no less annoying than popup ads of yesteryear. Most sites that use them only have one popup per page instead of a half dozen or more, so there’s that. Fortunately there are alternatives.

The most popular type of popup today is the newsletter signup form. It usually includes a message with a free gift that either pops up on load, after a few seconds, after you scroll, or as your mouse goes to the address bar. There’s no denying that it works. However, if it’s overdone it can be extremely annoying – especially if the reader has already subscribed.

Many sites have figured out better methods to get readers to subscribe than annoy them with constant popups. Some provide offers within their content, some use cookies to hide them, others have moved them to the corner, and others have removed them completely. Here are a few of the newsletter popup alternatives that are trending for 2017.

Call to Action Within Content

One example is the approach that Elegant Themes has taken as seen here in the free download called Coffee House by Olga Summerhayes. Rather than have popups about their newsletter, they create free downloads within their content. To get the download you simply click the download button and enter your email address. You’re then signed up to their email list and the download button appears immediately on screen.


Another option is to use cookies to determine if the user has opted in or chosen not the see the popup. This example is a plugin for Divi from SA Web Solution called Divi Multi Modal uses this type of cookie. The cookie is good for 30 days. Users can hide the popup by clicking the message in the corner.

Corner Popups

Some websites have moved the popup to the corner where readers can still see the screen. They started out as large modal windows that took up a decent chunk of the corner but they’re starting to become smaller. You can see in the example from wpmudev that this call to action (CTA) doesn’t get in the way of the content. Animation can call attention to the CTA without it becoming obnoxious. Also, they can deny it all they want too but that green guy is ROM.

Message Bars

One of the most popular methods is to use a message bar that remains at the top or bottom of the screen until the user clicks to close it. As you can see in this example from WP Theme Roundups, this message bar is small enough not to get in the way yet stands out enough to alert readers to your newsletter. They can be styled to match your branding or you can make them stand out to keep them from becoming invisible.

Let’s Discuss

1. Do you use popup ads?

2. Do you use popups for your newsletters or do you use another method?

3. What is your favorite method for newsletters?

Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading and please subscribe if you haven’t already.

Featured Image by Simson Petrol


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